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Home » Index » What Makes a Good MBA Candidate?

What Makes a Good MBA Candidate?


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A typical MBA candidate has several years of full-time, post-undergraduate work experience. The strongest candidates are dedicated, disciplined and focused on their intended career paths; they know what is required of them to achieve success and are clear about the particular area of interest they plan to pursue after obtaining an MBA degree. A good MBA student demonstrates evidence of leadership potential and consistent academic achievement. Other abilities include creativity, dedication, commitment and professionalism.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you possess entrepreneurship and leadership capabilities?
  • Are you competent at language and communication skills?
  • Do you possess a non-judgmental attitude, humanistic values, decision-making and analytical skills, interpersonal skills, and collaborative focus?
  • Do you have a strong personal sense of direction, self-discipline and ethics?
  • Are you able to define who you are in terms of what is important to you?
  • Are you able to describe what kind of lifestyle you desire and what level of financial security you aspire to?
  • Can you define what job satisfaction means to you?
It is also important to identify how your aspirations - within your capabilities - will match up with your priorities, which includes the question whether you are ready to be a student again for two or more years. Many first year students - having been out of school for many years - find it hard to adjust to the routine of being a student again i.e. attending lectures, doing schoolwork and turning in homework. Also, while few people are satisfied with just a career, how else will your education contribute to you leading a fulfilling life?

The most important work accomplished by organizations today is through the combined efforts of groups of people sharing their ideas and expertise. However, to function effectively on such teams, MBA students need to develop their interpersonal skills to bring out the best in each team member, to foster creativity and co-operation, and to channel conflict constructively. Effective team members do better at analytical and critical decision-making; they also discover how their input affects the behaviour of fellow team members, direct access to diverse information is improved, and they can more easily keep track of progress updates and tasks.

This is what all applicants to an MBA program need to ask themselves when they apply to any school to be admitted into their MBA program. Remember that the admissions officers and those professionals, who process your application, are also asking themselves if you will make a good candidate for their MBA program.

As the MBA is a very intense program, not to mention very expensive, schools are looking out for those applicants who come across as having prior knowledge about the program and are also clear about what they want from the program. As an MBA aspirant, you too, should do your best to be perceived as the ideal candidate for an MBA. The following areas are where you need to make your mark and put your best foot forward.

The Application for MBA

Once you have decided on some schools for an MBA program, the next step is to apply to those schools. Your application is the most important aspect, which will determine whether or not you are accepted into an MBA program. People think of the interview as the tough part, but if your application does not make you stand out as a great candidate, then you may never reach as far as the interview. Here’s how you can better your MBA application:

Have a really solid and complete application file. List down all your qualifications and your work experience in a way that complements them. Do NOT leave any part of the application form blank.

The essay that is required with the application should be written sincerely and should be so compelling that the person reviewing your application finds it tough to put your essay down.

Prepare for your GMAT test beforehand so as to have a high GMAT score in your application form.

The letters of recommendation with your application should stand out from the others.

Remember that only as little as 20% of all applications received by MBA schools, are actually considered further for the next stage in the admissions process. So make sure that you do the best possible job with your application so that it goes on top of the ‘in’ pile and does not get relegated to the ‘out’ pile.

Interviews for MBA Programs

If your MBA application is as good as it should be, then you may be short listed for the interviews. This is another critical aspect of the MBA admissions process and here the interviewer can physically determine how good a candidate you are for their MBA degree. Here are some tips to help you get prepared for the interview:

Portray Yourself as Part of a Team: Convey what you wish to get out of the MBA course, but more importantly, tell what you will contribute to it as well. Most MBA graduates consider their classmates and other students to be a big help during the course. So present yourself as a quality student and a valuable team member.

Be Sincere and Truthful: Do not give answers to questions that you think the interview committee wants to hear. They are great at their job and can easily differentiate among students who are being sincere and those who just give the ‘expected’ answers. So be honest about your expectations from the MBA course and why you have decided to pursue the particular program or school.

Prepare Yourself: Make a list of expected questions and then decide how you will answer them. But do not prepare actual questions and answers as then they will seem rehearsed and not spontaneous.


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